Guidepost of Silent Illumination

Article by

Tiantong_Hongzhi_Zhengjue_ZenSilent and serene, forgetting words, bright clarity appears before you.

Dropping judgements and names, sitting serene, Prajna Wisdom lights up the you-before-world.

When you reflect it you become vast, where you embody it you are spiritually uplifted.
Vast without boundaries, uplifted yet securely grounded in one’s seat.

Spiritually solitary and shining, inner illumination restores wonder,
Wholly Holy Whole, for there is nothing other … Just what remains to wonder about?

Dew in the moonlight, a river of stars, snow-covered pines, clouds enveloping the peak.
Each separate thing never apart in emptyness-dance.

In darkness it is most bright, while hidden all the more manifest.
In darkness, all branches become one … while the trees do not hide the forest, the forest does not conceal the trees.

The crane dreams in the wintery mists.
A pure white-on-white, yet we are our silhouettes; At the pivot point, we live this dreaming.

The autumn waters flow far in the distance.
Life’s time-river comes from somewhere, seems to roll off into some future unknown …

Endless kalpas are totally empty, all things completely the same.
Yet all moments of time are both empty and totally realized … just this, just this, just this.

When wonder exists in serenity, all achievement is forgotten in illumination.
How wonderful to live-sit serene, no achievement needed at all … as all illumination is achieved.

What is this wonder? Alertly seeing through confusion
All becomes ever clear and alert, even amid/as/right through and through life’s fog and crazy chaos.

Is the way of silent illumination and the origin of subtle radiance.
Noise yet silent, dark is light, origins without beginning … radiance in old rusty radiators!

Vision penetrating into subtle radiance is weaving gold on a jade loom.
This life is what we weave with the mind-body, from the thread and cloth fate hands us.

Upright and inclined yield to each other; light and dark are interdependent.
The Pieces are Wholly-Whole, Pieceful, One beyond One. So, do not fear the broken pieces.

Not depending on sense faculty and object, at the right time they interact.
When the time is right, no thought of time and place … yet everything in its place and time.

Drink the medicine of good views. Beat the poison-smeared drum.
In sickness or health, whether life’s sweet or bitter … the poison, seen rightly, is just medicine.

When they interact, killing and giving life are up to you.
You create the vision of “life and death”. Amid birth and death, there is no life or death.

Through the gate the self emerges and the branches bear fruit.
Oh, the fruit is just a dream … yet so very tasty!

Only silence is the supreme speech, only illumination the universal response.
Hongzhi’s well chosen words speak silence, the universe lightly answers.

Responding without falling into achievement, speaking without involving listeners,
Nothing to achieve, no place to fall, no words to speak, no speaker or anyone to be heard …

… So, watch your step, watch what you say!

The ten thousand forms majestically glisten and expound the dharma.
Fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles are the mind of Buddha, preach the Dharma.

All objects certify it, every one in dialogue.
No mundane thing is not sacred.

Dialoguing and certifying, they respond appropriately to each other;
Can you hear the beautiful conversation? Silent, yet always spoken.

But if illumination neglects serenity then aggressiveness appears.
Don’t be an armchair Buddhist, with all the “Buddhist ideas” stuffing your head and ready for debate.

Certifying and dialoguing, they respond to each other appropriately;
The Sixth Patriarch said …

(Silent) Meditation itself is the substance of (Illumination) wisdom … at the very moment when there is meditation, then wisdom exists in meditation.

But if serenity neglects illumination, murkiness leads to wasted dharma.
Equally dangerous: get lost in “emptiness” or in dull “quietude”, and you miss the point too.

When silent illumination is fulfilled, the lotus blossoms, the dreamer awakens,
The mud blossoms from the lotus, the dreamer lives a lovely dream within a dream.

A hundred streams flow into the ocean, a thousand ranges face the highest peak.
Sail your boat, hike that mountain.

Like geese preferring milk, like bees gathering nectar,
Everything in its natural place.

When silent illumination reaches the ultimate, I offer my teaching.
When is the teaching not being offered? Taught even if unheard.

The teaching of silent illumination penetrates from the highest down to the foundation.
No up or down. Just ride the great roller coaster ride!

The body being shunyata, the arms in mudra;
This body is your body, so live it! Arms can hold up a flower or a weapon.

From beginning to end the changing appearances and ten thousand differences share one pattern.
This constantly changing world-self-life is the one-going ongoing dance. So dance it!

Mr. Ho offered jade [to the Emperor; Minister] Xiangru pointed to its flaws.
From old stories, we demand the prize although already in one’s hand. These flaws are flawless.

Facing changes has its principles, the great function is without striving.
Great endeavor done sincerely, push on forward without striving or destination.

The ruler stays in the kingdom, the general goes beyond the frontiers.
There is a time when stillness sits still at home, a time it goes out and moves around to get the job done.

Yet, always Still At Home.

Our school’s affair hits the mark straight and true.
We got the key to the doorway. Yippee! :dance:

Transmit it to all directions without desiring to gain credit.
Nothing lacking, so spread the word!

Guidepost of Silent Illumination
Pointing the Way on this Pathless Path.


Abrahamic Mysticism: A Shared Heritage

Article by

A history of the weaving of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Mysticism

Shakti: Tiny Desk Concert

Video with

A reunion of the seminal Indian / European jazz fusion band for NPR's Tiny Desk Concert

#62 The Dreamer’s Dream

Podcast with

A simple yet profound conversation on the life and teachings of Éric Baret

Keep A Small Flame Burning

Article by

Using Buddhist teaching to deal with grief during the poly-crisis


Poem by

My mother is three years younger than Nakba

#60 Spiritual Warriors

Podcast with

Imminent Buddhist teacher Lama Rod on his new book "The New Saints"

Wholeness & Fragmentation

Video with

The problem with our "civilized" and compartmentalized ways of thinking, which is fragmented.

Hand of War

Poem by

From the series of Palestinian poets

Support SAND with a Donation

Science and Nonduality is a nonprofit organization. Your donation goes directly towards the development of our vision and the growth of our community.
Thank you for your support!